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IPFS News Link • Climate Change

Vermont officially becomes 1st state to charge big oil for climate change damage

•, By Leah Sarnoff

In a pioneering measure to hold companies responsible for environmental damage, Vermont has officially become the first state to make oil and gas giants shell out billions in climate change damage by law.

Vermont's Climate Superfund Act, which parallels the Environmental Protection Agency's superfund program, mandates high-emission corporations -- such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron -- to be financially accountable for a portion of the costs of extreme weather damage in the state.

On Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott let the Superfund Act, S.259, become law without his signature.

"For decades, fossil fuel corporations knowingly destroyed our planet for short-term profits," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders told ABC News earlier this month.

Companies responsible for more than one billion tons of greenhouse gas pollution globally must make payments calculated based on each corporation's emissions from 1995 to 2024, according to the legislation.

The bill uses data from the Carbon Majors database, which analyzes historical production data from 122 of the world's largest oil, gas, coal and cement producers, to litigate the climate liability claims.

Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources will allocate the funding for the Climate Superfund Cost Recovery Program Fund to enhance infrastructure, weatherproof public buildings and address the health impacts of climate change, the bill states.